Skip to content
The End of the Road for Haley
Go to my account

The End of the Road for Haley

Plus: Can Haiti pull out of its doom spiral?

Happy Thursday! Just in case freelance art and graphic design isn’t your thing, NASA recently opened up applications for its next class of astronauts. Be warned, though: According to the job listing, “extensive travel [is] required.”

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • A Russian missile strike on Odesa, a southern Ukrainian port city on the Black Sea, killed five people on Wednesday, according to Ukrainian officials. The explosion occurred only a few hundred yards away from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who was in the city with the prime minister of Greece—a NATO state—and an accompanying delegation. Neither Zelensky, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, nor anyone else in their convoy was injured in the attack.
  • A Houthi missile attack on a Barbados-flagged cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday killed three of the vessel’s crew members and injured at least four others. The strike marked the first loss of life since the Iranian-backed group in Yemen began targeting international commercial vessels in ostensible retaliation for the war in Gaza—there have been more than 60 attacks in the Red Sea since November. Undersea cable operators believe that a strike that sank a merchant ship in late February caused damage to internet and telecommunications cables in the waterway after the struck vessel dragged its anchor, causing outages.
  • The House passed a $460 billion government spending package on Wednesday, bundling together the six appropriations bills covering the parts of the government that were set to run out of money on Friday and extending funding through the end of the fiscal year. Lawmakers are still negotiating the six remaining spending bills to fund the rest of the government—including the Department of Defense—which will otherwise shut down after March 22. Wednesday’s measure passed by a vote of 339 to 85; Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said yesterday that the upper chamber will pass the package “with time to spare before Friday’s deadline.”
  • The Justice Department on Wednesday charged Linwei Ding, a Chinese national who worked at Google, with stealing company trade secrets related to artificial intelligence (AI) in an alleged scheme to benefit China-based AI companies. “The Justice Department will not tolerate the theft of artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies that could put our national security at risk,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement yesterday.
  • Former Ambassador Nikki Haley suspended her presidential campaign on Wednesday morning after losing 14 of the 15 “Super Tuesday” primary states to former President Donald Trump. Haley didn’t endorse her opponent as she ended her campaign, saying instead that Trump would have to “earn the votes” of her supporters. “Nikki Haley got TROUNCED last night,” Trump said in a Truth Social post responding to the announcement. Shortly after Haley’s announcement, outgoing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell endorsed Trump
  • Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota suspended his campaign for president on Wednesday and endorsed President Joe Biden’s reelection. “I invite, I encourage and will do everything humanly possible to ensure Joe Biden’s reelection this November,” Phillips said
  • The Alabama State Legislature passed a bill Wednesday night providing civil and criminal protections for doctors and patients using in vitro fertilization (IVF), which was later signed into law by Republican Gov. Kay Ivey. Some IVF clinics in the state will reportedly open as soon as this week, following an Alabama Supreme Court ruling that held that embryos were considered children under the state’s wrongful death law, leaving many worried about the future of the medical practice in the state.

Down to One

Nikki Haley arrives to announce the suspension of her presidential campaign at her campaign headquarters in Daniel Island, South Carolina on March 6, 2024. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
Nikki Haley arrives to announce the suspension of her presidential campaign at her campaign headquarters in Daniel Island, South Carolina on March 6, 2024. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Despite long odds heading into Tuesday’s 15 primary contests, former Ambassador Nikki Haley’s campaign was reportedly in a “jubilant” mood throughout the day, with her team of happy warriors prepared for whatever might lie ahead. With no events scheduled for the night, however, it seemed as though the campaign expected the end of the road.

Following a disappointing showing on Super Tuesday, Haley suspended her campaign for president, confirming officially what has been apparent for months: Former President Donald Trump will, barring any unforeseen surprises, face off against President Joe Biden again in the 2024 presidential election. Trump now faces the task of consolidating Republican support ahead of the general election—but Biden also has his eye on Haley’s more moderate and Trump-skeptical voters.

In a speech at her campaign headquarters in South Carolina on Wednesday, Haley told supporters that she ended her run with “no regrets,” and congratulated Trump on his capture of the nomination. But notably, she did not endorse the former president. “It is now up to Donald Trump to earn the votes of those in our party, and beyond it, who did not support him, and I hope he does that,” she said. “At its best, politics is about bringing people into your cause, not turning them away. And our conservative cause badly needs more people. This is now his time for choosing.”

Despite winning just two primary contests, Haley managed to build a coalition of independent, moderate, suburban, and college-educated voters that helped her secure more than 30 percent of the primary electorate in several states. As she pointed out in her speech yesterday, Trump will need to work to bring these people into his camp—and he might have his work cut out for him. Despite winning the overwhelming majority of states and delegates, Trump has struggled to win over suburban voters: In Virginia, for example, he lost the suburbs to Haley despite winning the state by roughly 28 points.* A CNN exit poll in North Carolina showed 81 percent of Haley voters would not vote for the former president in November.

Trump wasted no time dumping on his former ambassador on her way out the door. “Nikki Haley got TROUNCED last night, in record setting fashion,” he posted on Truth Social on Wednesday morning, extending an invitation to “all of the Haley supporters to join the greatest movement in the history of our Nation.” He then, in an apparent shift to the general election, reminded his followers of the fight ahead. “BIDEN IS THE ENEMY, HE IS DESTROYING OUR COUNTRY,” he wrote. “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!!”

President Joe Biden, too, made a play for Haley’s coalition of disaffected center-right and independent voters. “Donald Trump made it clear he doesn’t want Nikki Haley’s supporters,” he said in a statement released on Wednesday, referencing previous comments from Trump about permanently barring donors to “Birdbrain” Haley from his MAGA movement. “I want to be clear: There is a place for them in my campaign. I know there is a lot we won’t agree on. But on the fundamental issues … I hope and believe we can find common ground.”

Olivia Perez-Cubas, a spokeswoman for Haley’s campaign, posted a side-by-side comparison of the Trump and Biden comments, adding, “A tale of two statements…”

Haiti’s Violent Crisis

Displaced women and children take shelter at a school gymnasium after fleeing their homes during gang attacks in Port-au-Prince on September 14, 2023. (Photo by Giles Clarke/Getty Images)
Displaced women and children take shelter at a school gymnasium after fleeing their homes during gang attacks in Port-au-Prince on September 14, 2023. (Photo by Giles Clarke/Getty Images)

As difficult as it is to imagine the already dire situation in Haiti worsening, the island nation suffered just that over the last week. While Prime Minister Ariel Henry traveled abroad seeking international help to stem the unprecedented tide of violence, the criminal gangs that control some 80 percent of the capital city of Port-au-Prince appeared to set their sights on government institutions. 

On Saturday, gang members broke into two prisons, releasing thousands of inmates. Among the imprisoned were the Colombian mercenaries accused of assassinating President Jovenel Moïse in 2021. But rather than seizing their freedom, the alleged assassins reportedly decided to remain behind bars. “Please, please help us,” Francisco Uribe, one of the accused Colombians, said in a video shared on social media. “They are massacring people indiscriminately inside the cells.”

The deepening crisis in Haiti shows no signs of abating, with the country trapped in a dangerous cycle of instability. Gang leaders are now threatening civil war if Henry—so far unable to return to the country—does not resign. International support for the prime minister, whose legitimacy was always on shaky ground, seems to be faltering, and it’s unclear what political next steps might look like in a country overrun with violence, hunger, and disease. Though the long-promised, U.N.- and U.S.-backed international police force meant to restore order seems closer to deployment than ever, even that might not be sufficient to pull the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere back from the brink of anarchy.

Last year was particularly violent in Haiti. In 2023, there were almost 5,000 homicides—more than double the number of murders in 2022—in the country of around 11 million people. Even before the chaos of the last week, this year seemed poised to break that record. In January, according to the United Nations, 806 people not directly involved in the gang conflict were killed, injured, or kidnapped—and around 300 gang members were killed—making it the country’s most violent month in two years. As a result of the violence and chaos, at least 4.5 million people are facing food insecurity, and the country is experiencing one of the worst cholera outbreaks in the world. “I’ve seen things here that I’ve never seen in my life,” Ulrika Richardson, the U.N.’s chief humanitarian coordinator for Haiti, said on Wednesday.  

Haiti’s national police force is woefully depleted, with fewer than 10,000 officers on duty at a time when the U.N. suggests 25,000 would be a more adequate number. As we reported in September, some citizens have resorted to ill-fated vigilante justice in the face of murders, kidnappings, and sexual violence. In recent weeks, Haitians have constructed makeshift barricades around their neighborhoods to try to keep the gang turf wars off their streets. 

After Henry left the country last Thursday—first to head to Guyana for a meeting with regional heads of state, and then to Kenya in an attempt to revive an international police mission headed by the African country—members of several armed groups moved against police stations, took control of two prisons, and, on Monday, attempted to occupy the main airport in Port-au-Prince, forcing it to close. Jimmy “Barbecue” Chérizier, the leader of a coalition of gangs, said in a video that the group’s intention was to keep Henry from returning to the country. Earlier this week, Chérizier demanded Henry step down, threatening even more violence. “If Ariel Henry does not resign,” he said, “we’ll be heading straight for a civil war that will lead to genocide.” The country’s finance minister, serving as interim prime minister in Henry’s absence, on Sunday instituted a 72-hour state of emergency. 

The events of the last week constitute a change in the character of the violence in Haiti. What began as turf wars between rival gangs vying for control appears to have morphed into something at least temporarily more cohesive and targeted at public infrastructure and the government itself. “The airport is surrounded by areas that have been under the control of armed groups for a long time, so there was nothing stopping these people from shooting at planes—it was a choice, and so that does seem like a change,” Jake Johnston, senior research associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), told TMD. “That is a different tactic. We run a risk of taking the statements from people like Jimmy Chérizier at face value, and yet pretty clearly this was meant to prevent the Prime Minister Ariel Henry from returning to the country.” 

Is this a coup, or something short of that? Analysts and observers told TMD it’s difficult to say. It’s not clear whether the gang leaders have political ambitions, and the gangs themselves aren’t predisposed to teamwork. “If opportunity requires them to cooperate for a brief moment, they will, but they’re not, by nature, going to be coalition builders,” Frederick Barton, the former assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations during the Obama administration, told TMD

Moreover, coups require the existence of an actual government to overthrow. There isn’t a single elected official serving an active term in the entire country, with the last elections there being held in 2016. The late president, Jovenel Moïse, appointed Henry just days before he was killed, and a brief power struggle after his death saw Henry emerge victorious with the backing of the international community. But as the country’s security situation has only deteriorated, he’s become increasingly unpopular with Haitians who have many times protested his rule. The country was supposed to hold elections on February 7 as part of an agreement between Henry, political rivals, and other civil society actors, but Henry delayed them—potentially until late 2025—citing the need to restore order and security. 

Henry has been actively calling for international help to stem the violence. Late last year, the U.N. approved an international police force, led by 1,000 members of the Kenyan national police, to help restore control over critical infrastructure and carry out “targeted operations” with the Haitian national police. Several countries, including the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, and Chad, have said they’d send police to join the “Multinational Security Support” mission. But even before the largely U.S.-funded program could get off the ground, it faced opposition in Kenya, where a high court in January ruled the plan was illegal because there was no reciprocal agreement between Nairobi and Port-au-Prince regarding authorization, and held that it may be unconstitutional for the Kenyan police to act outside their national borders. 

Even if that mission does come to fruition, it’s not clear it would be effective. “I think it’s necessary, but not sufficient,” Barton told TMD. “I do think the Kenyans and the other countries will be extremely useful if they don’t have to tip the balance” from utter chaos towards the re-establishment of order. “But that initial tipping of the balance,” he added, “is probably going to take something like U.S. special forces.” That level of boots-on-the-ground U.S. intervention, especially when there’s a fraught history of such action in Haiti, seems extremely unlikely. 

Henry was in Kenya signing the requisite bilateral agreement to jump-start the international mission when he was functionally locked out of his country. His whereabouts were briefly unclear over the weekend, but on Wednesday, reporting from the Miami Herald suggested he’d landed in Puerto Rico after being denied access to the Dominican Republic. 

His flight path wasn’t the only thing to change midair, the Herald reported. In what would amount to a marked reversal of U.S. policy, if accurate, the State Department—with backing from the regional Caribbean Community grouping—reportedly told Henry he should resign his post. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield told reporters on Wednesday that wasn’t quite right, saying, “What we have asked the Haitian PM to do is to move forward on a political process that will lead to the establishment of a Presidential Transitional Council that will lead to elections.” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller reiterated that point in yesterday’s press briefing. 

But CEPR’s Jake Johnston pointed out that Henry’s resignation is nevertheless baked into that plan. “The reality now is that it’s extraordinarily unlikely that anybody in this current environment is going to be willing to make a deal that keeps Henry in power,” he told TMD. “He can’t even get back to the country, so his bargaining power has been eviscerated. The reports of fading or totally evaporated international support also sort of punctures the perception of inevitability. It was that international support that gave him that power, and without it, it’s just another knock on his leverage.”

Worth Your Time

  • Writing for Persuasion, novelist Ann Bauer explored how independent bookstores have survived in the age of Amazon—and takeaways from the socially conscious marketing strategy that’s kept them afloat. “For 30 years, independent bookstores have been battling Amazon, a monster online retailer that sells the exact same products for 20-50 percent less,” Bauer wrote. “‘In 1994, there were over 7,000 independent bookstores in the United States,’ says Allison Hill, CEO of the American Booksellers Association (ABA). ‘By 2009 that number had dropped to 1,651.’ But after the initial bloodbath, in which there were many casualties, independent bookstores found their footing. And in large urban centers, they’re winning the war.” Today, the number of independent bookstores has rebounded to 2,500. “In fact, independent bookstore sales outpaced most other publishing industry metrics in 2023, growing faster than overall unit sales of print books,” Bauer wrote. “Booksellers have bent the rules of the free market. For the first time in history, a significant chunk of the buying public are voluntarily paying almost double—and going out of their way—to buy exactly the same product they can get cheaper and often faster somewhere else. And it’s all due to that ABA message: ‘non-corporate, authentic, and socially responsible.’ … What no one says is that the bargain works both ways. If book buyers must behave virtuously and tithe an additional $11 a book, then booksellers must uphold the community’s doctrines. They’re locked in the moral contract, too.”

Presented Without Comment 

Democratic Rep. Katie Porter, after losing California’s U.S. Senate primary by nearly 20 points:

Thank you to everyone who supported our campaign and voted to shake up the status quo in Washington. Because of you, we had the establishment running scared—withstanding 3 to 1 in TV spending and an onslaught of billionaires spending millions to rig this election.

Democratic Rep. Katie Porter, seven hours later:

“Rigged” means manipulated by dishonest means. A few billionaires spent $10 million+ on attack ads against me, including an ad rated “false” by an independent fact checker. That is dishonest means to manipulate an outcome. I said “rigged by billionaires” and our politics are—in fact-manipulated by big dark money. Defending democracy means calling that out. At no time have I ever undermined the vote count and election process in CA, which are beyond reproach.

Also Presented Without Comment 

Axios: House GOP Tries to Shut Down State of the Union Heckling

Also Also Presented Without Comment

BBC: German Patient Vaccinated Against COVID 217 Times

Toeing the Company Line

  • President Joe Biden is delivering his State of the Union address tonight, which means we’ll have a bonus edition of Dispatch Live (🔒) tonight at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, or whenever the speechifying is done! The team will discuss the remarks and the GOP rebuttal, and, of course, take plenty of viewer questions. Keep an eye out for an email later today with information on how to tune in.
  • In the newsletters: The Dispatch Politics crew unpacked Nikki Haley’s primary exit and the state of the Senate race in Arizona after Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s retirement announcement, Scott outlined (🔒) how the Wendy’s “surge pricing” dust-up illustrates common pitfalls in consumer protection policy, Jonah reminded readers (🔒) they will largely be fine no matter who wins the presidential election this fall, and Nick weighed in (🔒) on what’s next for Haley and her supporters as she ends her campaign.
  • On the podcasts: Razib Khan returns to The Remnant to explore the genetic makeup of the world’s second most important animal, human beings, and David and Sarah revisit their arguments over the Supreme Court’s per curium ruling on the Trump-Colorado case on the latest episode of Advisory Opinions.
  • On the site today: Frederick Hess and Michael McShane argue that elite universities are rotten but fixable.

Let Us Know

How do you think the U.S. should work to quell the crisis in Haiti—if at all?

Correction, March 7, 2024: This newsletter originally stated that, in Virginia’s presidential primary, Donald Trump lost the suburbs to Nikki Haley by 28 percentage points. He did lose suburban precincts in the state, but not by 28 percentage points—that is the margin by which he won the state overall.

James Scimecca works on editorial partnerships for The Dispatch, and is based in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the company in 2023, he served as the director of communications at the Empire Center for Public Policy. When James is not promoting the work of his Dispatch colleagues, he can usually be found running along the Potomac River, cooking up a new recipe, or rooting for a beleaguered New York sports team.

Mary Trimble is the editor of The Morning Dispatch and is based in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the company in 2023, she interned at The Dispatch, in the political archives at the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po), and at Voice of America, where she produced content for their French-language service to Africa. When not helping write The Morning Dispatch, she is probably watching classic movies, going on weekend road trips, or enjoying live music with friends.

Grayson Logue is the deputy editor of The Morning Dispatch and is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the company in 2023, he worked in political risk consulting, helping advise Fortune 50 companies. He was also an assistant editor at Providence Magazine and is a graduate student at the University of Edinburgh, pursuing a Master’s degree in history. When Grayson is not helping write The Morning Dispatch, he is probably working hard to reduce the number of balls he loses on the golf course.